Sunday, May 22, 2022

What Comes Next For Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court Nomination?

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Senate Democrats are trying to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson ASAP now that her nomination hearings are over. Though controversial on points, they brought no real surprises that changed her chances of getting on the field.

Democrats want to close the deal quickly, with a Senate vote to confirm Jackson’s nomination by April 8. If confirmed, Jackson would become the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Because they are in the majority, the Democrats have a pretty clear path to getting this done, although there will likely be some residual drama from the Republicans, as has often happened in recent Supreme Court battles.

This is what comes next.

Where did Jackson’s nomination come from?

Jackson’s nomination leads to a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled for Monday, April 4. While Democrats hoped to consider Jackson’s nomination as early as Monday, March 28, objections from any committee member could lead to a nomination being passed. postponed for a week, and it’s a safe bet there will be Republican objections.

It is widely expected that the vote in the committee will end in a tie, as the 11 Democrats on the committee will support Jackson, while none of the 11 Republicans are expected to support Jackson. While a draw would cause a slight delay, it didn’t stop her nomination from going ahead.

“A tie vote won’t stop us,” D-IL Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on Wednesday. “It slows us down on the floor for a few hours, but it doesn’t stop us.”

The committee’s response to a potential tie could also indicate how much lawmakers want to keep Senate standards. Historically, the Judiciary Committee has allowed Supreme Court candidates, including Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, to speak even if they do not receive the support of the committee’s majority.

If Republicans refuse to do the same with Jackson, Democrats can vote to release her nomination. But going down that road would indicate that the days of honoring this past practice are probably over.

Democrats hope to hold a ground vote on Jackson shortly after the committee meeting, with the goal of getting her confirmed before the Senate leaves for the Easter recess, where members can leave on Thursday, April 7.

Because Supreme Court nominees need only a simple majority (or 51 votes) to be confirmed, the Democrats’ 50-member caucus will be able to promote Jackson on its own, with a casting vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.

Between now and then, however, Democrats seek Republican senators in an effort to make the vote on Jackson’s nomination a bipartisan vote.

Republicans have limited ways to stop the nomination

Republicans have limited resources to prevent the nomination from going through.

One idea several Republicans have already rejected is a boycott of the Judiciary Committee vote. Commission rules require two members of the minority party to be present to determine the quorum needed for a vote to take place. If no minority members are present, the vote can theoretically not take place. In addition, a majority of the committee must be present to report a nomination to the Senate floor.

If the Republicans boycotted, the committee would not have the majority it needs to send the nomination to the floor.

Ultimately, though, the Democrats have a way of overcoming such maneuvers. In the event of a boycott, Democrats could still promote Jackson’s nomination, though it would likely be challenged on the Senate floor as a rule violation. At that point, the Senate could have a majority vote that effectively overrides these rules.

There is also a precedent for ignoring the quorum rule. In 2020, then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham pushed forward the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Comey Barrett, although Democrats boycotted the vote in the committee. At the time, however, Republicans had the necessary majority on the committee to get the nomination on the agenda.

So far, multiple Republicans have indicated that they are unlikely to pursue a boycott.

“I haven’t had a conversation” [on a boycott] with a Republican, ranking member of the Senate Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Punchbowl Wednesday† “If they even thought of that, people would talk to me. So we don’t think about that.”

Republicans have also asked for more documents to investigate Jackson’s nomination, including the pre-conviction reports in child pornography cases that Jackson oversaw. During the hearings, Republicans argued that Jackson was too lenient on child pornography cases, an argument that has been widely debunked.

On Wednesday, Republicans on the committee insisted that Democrats release the confidential pre-sentence reports in these cases. These include sensitive information about the victims, as well as notes from an offender’s probation officer. Democrats have already declined this request, saying they have given Republicans enough information about these matters.

“The idea of ​​making those pre-conviction reports available to this political environment, and potentially available for public consumption, would be reprehensible and dangerous,” Durbin said at Wednesday’s press conference.

Sarah Binder, a George Washington University professor who is an expert on congressional procedures, notes that there is little opportunity for Republicans to actually delay or block the nomination, including the pursuit of documents.

“In a 50-50 Senate, the majority can stick together and manage the process in the interests of the majority,” she told cafemadrid.

Democrats hope it will be a two-pronged vote

Democrats hope they can convince some Republicans to support her nomination, even if they don’t have to.

Earlier, three Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – for Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court. They are the most likely Republicans to consider voting for her again.

However, Graham has already indicated that he probably won’t. He is the most conservative of the three and has made a point in the past to respect presidential selections for judicial appointments. But he seems ready to break with that attitude in this case, especially after Biden chose Jackson about a South Carolina judge he pleaded for

†[Biden] made his decision: ‘I am not going the way of consensus. I’m going to the basic road,” Graham said in a… interview with CNN† “I will make my decision based on his decision.”

Other Republicans trying to win Democrats over are more moderate members like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and outgoing members such as Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Romney said he believed the attacks on Jackson’s record of child pornography were “obvious”, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he would support her endorsement.

Given the limited Republican support Jackson received last year, she’s unlikely to get more than a handful of GOP votes this time around.


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